Can This Patriots Team Win the Super Bowl?

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The question everybody likes to ask this time of year.  Can this team win the Super Bowl?

My answer: yes.  Thank you for reading my article.

Photo courtesy of theringer.com

In all seriousness, I do believe that this team can win the Super Bowl.  Call me a homer.  Call me biased.  Call me stupid.  Call me whatever you would like.  I've seen this team turn things around too many times, rise from the dead, prove doubters wrong, whatever you want to call it.  Last year was the latest, and perhaps strongest, case of why you should never count out the New England Patriots.


Flash back to 2018.  The Patriots were 9-5, fresh off back-to-back losses in Weeks 14 and 15 to the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.  Wins against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets followed.  Games where Tom Brady threw for 126 yards, and 250 yards; hardly his best performances of the year.  The team was 11-5, but many felt were limping into the playoffs, having lost Josh Gordon and with Rob Gronkowski's production down.

What followed? Brady threw for 343 yards in a dominant victory over a Los Angeles Chargers team that many felt were better.  Then, they went into Kansas City as 3.5 point underdogs and won yet another AFC championship.  The offense piled up 498 yards against the Chargers, and 524 against the Chiefs.
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Over the final five games of the season (Weeks 16 and 17, and the three postseason games), the Pats averaged 177.8 rushing yards per game.  The first 14 games of the season, they averaged roughly 114.  This team did a complete 180 offensively, when it mattered most.  Why are we to believe that can't happen again this year?

You can talk about the personnel, but it's not that different.  Yes, Rob Gronkowski certainly makes a huge difference.  However, the backfield is the same.  Their top three receivers at the end of last year were Edelman, Dorsett and Chris Hogan.

Edelman and Dorsett still remain, so you mean to tell me they can't replace what Hogan did?  He wasn't the same guy last year that he was the two years prior.  There were five games last year where he didn't record a single catch.

The issue this year isn't talent.  We've seen Brady do more with less.  The issue is being on the same page.  Wide receivers and Brady are not seeing things the same way.  There's still time to figure things out, before the games really matter.

Obviously, if the offense doesn't improve, then a Super Bowl is out of the question.  However, I don't think we need to see major improvements, to the point where the offense starts putting up 28 points per game.  If this team gets back to the Super Bowl, it's going to be on the back of the defense.  If the defense plays to their potential, the Pats won't need 28 points to win.

The offense is not going to flip a switch and become a top 5, or even top 10 offense.  They won't need to though.  If they can make slight improvements, it will make a difference.

If the defense can hold opponents to 20 points or less, I think that's enough to give the offense a chance.  You start getting into the 24-28 point range, things could get a little difficult.  As currently constituted, this offense should be able to score 21 points on a given night.  Here's how they can do it in three simple ways.

Don't turn the ball over.  The offense doesn't have the same explosiveness or potency as in year's past.  They can't afford to give away possessions by turning the ball over.  Their two losses were highlighted by brutal turnovers, that swung momentum of the game.

Limit or eliminate penalties.  This offense doesn't have the talent it takes to overcome drive killing penalties.  We've seen it too many times this year.  A couple of good plays to open a drive, ruined by penalty.  The Pats can't afford to find themselves in 1st and 20, or 2nd and 15.  I say this after they converted on 1st and 30, and 3rd and 17 last week; but that was more about the ineptness of the Houston defense.

Lastly, improve red zone execution.  One of the biggest issues with this team is their inability to finish off drives in the endzone.  I think that would put a lot of people at ease.  If they were only able to muster three scoring drives, but each one ended in 7, instead of 3, things would feel different.  That hasn't been the case, though.  As a matter of fact, this has been one of the worst Patriot teams I can remember in terms of red zone efficiency.

The game against the Ravens might've been different had they turned one of those first half field goals into a touchdown.  Even last week against Houston, if that opening drive ended up in the endzone, things may have been different.  Instead, the Patriots have been faltering inside the 20-yard line.

That to me is the recipe for this offense to get back to the Super Bowl...again.  If the defense does its thing, and the offense does those three things, it should be enough.


Follow Derek on Twitter @mcvay34

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Can This Patriots Team Win the Super Bowl?
Can This Patriots Team Win the Super Bowl?
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